The UK Conservative MP Mike Weatherley spoke at a second reading of the Intellectual Property Bill in Parliament and called for prison sentences for "persistent" downloaders. Mr Weatherley is a former entertainment industry executive and is Prime Minister Cameron's Intellectual Property advisor. He also defended the idea of disconnecting families from the Internet if their router is implicated in accused acts of copyright infringement.
In Weatherley's view, "piracy" is the same as "theft." He's saying that if you listen to a song the wrong way — by torrenting it, rather than listening to it on Spotify — you should go to jail. He's saying that if you watch a TV programme using Bittorrent instead of Iplayer, that the state should pay to imprison you and you should be deprived of your liberty; but if you watch that same program in the same window on the same screen in the same place, but you get it from Iplayer, you're in the clear.
Prison for watching TV the wrong way — no wonder they're called the Nasty Party.
Weatherley, who we should not forget is the Prime Minister's advisor on such matters, continued by revealing just how far he feels the government should go in dealing with the problem, starting with Internet disconnections and ending in a much darker place.
"Ultimately, we need to consider withdrawing internet rights from lawbreakers, along with imposing fines and, as a last resort, custodial sentences," he told the debate.
Helen Goodman MP countered by stating that a line needs to be drawn between punishing the occasional downloader and those who run pirate sites.
"It is important that we distinguish between 14-year-olds in their bedrooms downloading two or three Justin Bieber tracks on to an iPod and people who make multi-billion pound businesses out of providing illegal material. It is not right to treat the two groups in the same way," she said.
Clarifying his stance, Weatherley underlined that he did indeed mean prison should be an option not only for those running sites, but those who keep on downloading despite the warnings.
UK Considers Throwing Persistent Internet Pirates in Jail